Notable Transfers to FCS Football
The road to becoming a member of a college football team can take unusual twists and turns and that’s particularly true of FCS schools that often see their rosters dotted with FBS transfers this time of year. Because athletes aren’t required to sit out a season if they transfer from the FBS ranks, FCS schools become attractive landing spots for those looking for a better opportunity or a second chance when things haven’t gone smoothly the first time around.
But sometimes, that road is more unusual than most as evidenced by the presence of Hamis MacInnes, a kicker for Jacksonville (Ala.) State, who’s expected to be on the roster this fall. MacInnes isn’t a transfer, but he hails from Victoria, Australia, where he was involved with the sport made famous in the early days of ESPN — Australian Rules Football. Also a rugby player, MacInnes, who won’t be on campus until this summer, has averaged better than 45 yards a punt with a hang time of 4.75 seconds. He got the attention of school officials at a punting camp here in the United States and instead of getting his kicks this fall in Australia, he’ll be doing it in the Ohio Valley Conference.
A glance at FCS spring rosters did reveal some transfers to keep in mind this fall: Quarterback Braden Hanson, a 6-6, 220-pounder, didn’t travel quite as far as MacInnes, but it’s not often a Charlotte, N.C., native ends up in Grand Forks at the University of North Dakota, where the school will enter the Big Sky Conference this fall. Hanson, who has graduated, saw action in six games in a reserve role as a redshirt junior for the University of North Carolina last year. He was 7-for-13 for 86 yards against North Carolina State.
The North Carolina High School Player of the Year in 2007, Hanson’s road to Grand Forks is interesting indeed. Hanson’s father was born in Fargo and Braden’s grandfather, Glen Hanson, was a newscaster in Fargo in the late ’50s and ’60s. “We’re excited to have Braden on board and to be able to work with him this spring. He is a big, tall, strong-armed kid. We are excited to see how he can help us next fall,” Fighting Sioux head coach Chris Mussman said on his school’s website. “He’s a FBS transfer that wanted an opportunity to play and that was his biggest decision in transferring here.”
Two seasons ago, Eastern Washington surprised the FCS world by rallying from a 19-point third-quarter deficit to beat Delaware 20-19 in Frisco, Texas. Leading that rally was SMU transfer quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. Fast-forward to this season and EWU has another SMU quarterback on board. Kyle Padron, a 6-4, 233-pound Texas native, has landed at EWU where he hopes to guide the team to another title. Padron set a SMU passing record in 2010 with 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns. He lost the top job to J.J. McDermott last season and former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert has since transferred into SMU, making things too crowded for Padron.
Stony Brook, a member of the Big South Conference, is trying to make noise in the FCS ranks and it got a big boost with the addition of Iowa transfer running back Marcus Coker. In two seasons in Iowa City, Coker rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 18 TDs. Last year he was second in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,384 yards. He was named co-MVP of the 2010 Insight Bowl against No. 12 Missouri.